Federal Mandatory Spending for Means-Tested Programs, 2009 to 2029
Under current law, outlays for federal mandatory means-tested programs would grow over the next decade at an average annual rate of 4 percent, whereas spending for mandatory non–means-tested programs would grow at an average rate of almost 6 percent, CBO projects.
CBO projects that if current laws generally remained unchanged, federal outlays for mandatory means-tested programs (programs and tax credits that provide cash payments or other assistance to people with relatively low income or few assets) would grow over the next decade at an average annual rate of 4 percent (after an adjustment to exclude the effects of shifts in the timing of certain federal payments). Spending for mandatory non–means-tested programs would grow at an average annual rate of almost 6 percent.
The largest mandatory means-tested programs are Medicaid, the earned income and child tax credits (which are refundable), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Supplemental Security Income. The largest non–means-tested programs are Social Security, most of Medicare, and civilian and military retirement programs.
The tables that accompany this short report show CBO’s baseline projections and historical data for such programs.